‘A great many hardships’ introduces the conquistadors. Conquistadors were not appointed by the Spanish monarchy. They were entrepreneurs who travelled to the Americas under their own volition in search of fortune and prestige. In spite of this individualism, they still reported to and sought rewards from the Spanish king, and prized their Catholicism above all else. Conquistador literature is paradoxical, contrasting great successes against miserable hardships. The Aztec and Incan empires the conquistadors vanquished were not weak at the time of Spanish contact. However, based on their conflicts with Old World Muslims, the Castilians believed they held the authority to rule over — and convert — non-Christians.